The money is HTC’s first significant investment in an Israeli startup as they hunt for more tech to augment their HTC Vive
AR wearable startup Lumus announced Monday the close of a $45 million Series C funding round led by Taiwanese ODM company Quanta Computer with participation from Taiwanese phone maker HTC. Shanda Group and Crystal-Optech had previously dropped $15 million on the company to open the round.
“This new funding will help Lumus continue to scale up our R&D and production in response to the growing demand from companies creating new augmented reality and mixed reality applications, including consumer electronics and smart eyeglasses,” says Lumus CEO Ben Weinberger. “We also plan to ramp up our marketing efforts in order to realize and capture the tremendous potential of our unique technology to re-envision reality in the booming AR industry.”
Lumus makes see-through display optics, basically giving you the ability to check email, your schedules and do search in your glasses by using motion detection technology. They also boast a wide field of view in a natural looking set of frames by using a patented micro-projector to display images from the side of your frames onto the lenses themselves.
The lens contains thin transparent reflectors, which they have patented and dubbed the “Light-Guide Optical Element.” They also promise true color and suitable brightness even in daylight, something the skeptical buyer should want to see to believe.
Lumus is selling in a market jaded by Google Glass, but they could end up with better timing than Google’s concept. Investments in VR and AR are soaring, betting investors will want to take the bare bolts of the technology to apply it to a number of industries like healthtech or aviation. There could be as many as 3.4 million AR-infused smart glasses by 2020, which meshes with Technavio‘s growth forecast of 141% by 2020.
One of the companies mentioned as an industry leader in the Technavio report, Atheer, is also a declared partner for Lumus.
“We are very committed to AR/VR,” says David Chang, COO of HTC, which is likely hunting for technology that will continue to build on their HTC Vive VR device. “Our current investment is aligned with HTC’s natural extension into augmented reality following our successful VIVE launch earlier this year.”
“AR/VR is well aligned with our growth strategy and we’re pleased to invest in the Lumus optics solution for augmented reality,” said Quanta President C.C. Leung. “This is pioneering technology, and we have great confidence in Lumus as an innovator and industry leader for transparent optical displays in the AR market.”
Founded in 2000 by Yaakov Amitai, Lumus maintains its headquarters in Rehovot, Israel and has 70 employees.